Friday, October 19, 2007

Looking for a Master Plan

Ms. New Beauty has a pretty standard routine when it comes to checking her email. First, she checks the personal and chats back and forth with the girls about whatever random goings on are taking place in their lives. Next, it's the spam mail. Ms. New Beauty has one email address dedicated to all of her online purchasing, banking and mailing lists. Life is so much easier when all the spam is grouped together and not getting mixed in with messages that are actually important. Finally, she checks the Ms. New Beauty address. Most times, she gets messages from publicists about the newest products coming out or emails from other member of the fabulous Beauty Blog Network about the latest innovations in beauty blogging. This week, she got a message from a New Beauty in need of a little help and the perfect issue to tackle in this installment of Ask Ms. New Beauty.

Ok Ms. New Beauty here is the dilemma.

I am a 26 year old woman who has never understood the complexities of makeup. I don't know how to use it, how to apply it, what brushes to use, etc. You must be asking "How could you have made is so far in life without learning these skills?" I honestly don't know. Anywhoo, I am in the process of giving myself an image makeover (think tomboy to girly girl as seen on any generic makeover show.) I am starting a new career, and this is one of the final touches. Right now I just need to understand the basics. Are there any tips you can give me or books you can recommend? Thanks in advance.

Makeup Master(Less)

First things first, no one is born knowing all the intricacies of cosmetics. Some of us just start a little earlier than others. Take me for example, by age 10, I was preening around the house in my mother's red lipstick and begging her to let me wear one of her wigs to school. The kitchen was about as far as I got, as this picture proves. But other New Beauties don't hit their makeup stride until much later, and there's not a damn thing wrong with that.

In an effort to keep this post from blowing up into a full grown treatise (which could easily happen since I have the day off), I'm going to consolidate the answer into just the basics that any woman needs to get started and the books that can help her on her way.

Reading Material

When I first heard that the editors of Allure, the first magazine truly dedicated to beauty, were publishing a book, I was elated. I rushed out to the store, purchased Confessions of a Beauty Editor and then came home and blogged about it. I thoroughly recommend this book, and a subscription to Allure, as a great primer on the basics of makeup. It'll take you through starting a skincare regimen (which is the most important step because glowing skin makes makeup so simple) and then how to apply and use a myriad of cosmetics.

For women of color, I really think you should complement your beauty library with The Beauty of Color by Iman. It gives you the same primer through skincare and cosmetics application, but does so with a focus on the special needs that brown skin can have like finding a foundation that doesn't look ashy or picking out the right red for your lips.

Both about $15, available at bookstores

The Great Triumvirate of Cosmetics

Now that you've learned about all the beauty options available to you by reading, let me boil it down and give you the bottom line. There are three beauty products that will take care of 99% of your cosmetic needs. And here they are - Foundation, Mascara and Blush. These three couldn't be easier to get and to get right.


Here is the one area where I will always recommend paying for the better brands, especially for women of color. Drugstore brands don't let you test the color or coverage and for women of color, the pickings are normally pretty slim. Most brands only offer three shades for brown skin and some don't even offer that. So, head to the nicest department store in your area and go to a beauty counter to find the right foundation for you. The brands that offer the best options for women of all skin tone are MAC, BECCA, and Prescriptives. MAC and BECCA have enough shades to make your brain boggle so you'll definitely find the one that's a perfect match for you. Prescriptives offers the fabulous color matching service that allows you to perfectly customize any foundation to match your color and lets you add in any number of skin soothing benefits.

About $25-40, at better department stores.


To start, all you need is Maybelline Great Lash. The formula is thin enough not to clump but still thick enough to give your lashes a boost. This is a basic mascara formula that will let you see exactly what kind of lashes you are working with. Use this and you might find it does every thing you need it to do. Or, you might find you want a little more and move on to another mascara that focuses on volumizing, lengthening, or reaching the teeniest tiniest lashes. And, the best part is you can always find a great mascara in the drugstore for no more than a few bucks.

About $5, available at drugstores


Blush adds just the right hint of color to your face to keep things from being boring. And, when it comes to blush for novices and vets, I just have three words - Tarte. Cheek. Stain. I just blogged about this last week and here I am again. But that's because it really is just perfect. This is the easiest blush to ever use. You literally just dab it on your cheeks for the sheerest most natural color. Flush truly works for every woman of every shade. It's a deep raspberry red that is ridiculously sheer. A few dabs and you look like you've been giggling with your girlfriends.

$28, available at Sephora

You might me thinking, but MNB "you left out my lips." I didn't. There are no rules for lipgloss. Buy whatever shades you love and make you feel pretty, whether they cost $2 or $20. And there you have everything get your Geek-to-Chic/Stacey & Clinton/Tim & Veronica full fab girly makeover on.

Go ahead, make yourself over into whatever you want to be, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!


Anonymous said...

Great post! I just discovered Becca cosmetics a few months ago and I found my perfect foundation, concealer, and powder match. I will definitely be ordering more of their products.

Anonymous said...


Love your blog! I just tried the tarte cheek stain and love it.

I'm always trying to find color cosmetics that flatter my skin tone - a deep caramel shade. Most lipsticks look too muddy/ bluish and eyeshadows have an ashy cast.
Any recs would be tremendously appreciated!!

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